Wednesday, September 9, 2009

TRY OUT THE THREE-FOODS DIET.

Here’s some advice on how to improve your eating and lose a few pounds without going on a strict diet. It may be a big change for you, but if you’re looking for a better way of eating, you should try the “only three-foods diet”. I recommend this diet and have been following it for some time. It has helped me improve my general health and kept my weight in check. The three-foods diet has existed for many decades, perhaps for centuries, and books have been written about it. I’ll outline the basis for the diet and tell you what I know about it.

The three-foods diet is easy to follow. The main rules are that every time you eat, it must be a real meal and, in every meal, you must eat three foods. One of the foods must be a protein. (Of course, you shouldn't be eating meat, fish, or eggs at all meals - once a day is plenty, and, according to most nutritionists more than you really need.) The second food should be from the fruit or vegetable category. The third should be a grain or multi-grains. This plan allows you to eat almost all your favorite foods, so that’s a good starting point. The things that you definitely need to eliminate are sweets, alcoholic beverages, and salty foods. You may consume a little sugar, added to cereals and drinks.  Honey and maple sugar are better for you than regular table sugar.

Of course, having said that it’s simple diet, there are a few other things to remember. You must try to eat a regular portion of each of the three kinds of food in your meal -- not more, not less. In order not to overeat at any time, the meals need to be spaced out appropriately during the day – a morning, a mid day, and an early evening meal. If there is still hunger at night, and there was no overeating in the first three meals, there can be a light fourth meal. But, all meals must follow the three-food rule.

Nutritional experts emphasize that our bodies can’t digest food well when the stomach is overwhelmed with too much food or with too many different foods. The three-food rule works for you because you have no real incentive to overeat, and the food you eat is balanced. The fact that you eat sufficient protein and get a lot of fiber means that you feel full for longer. By following this diet, many people are totally cured of chronic indigestion.

Depending on your metabolism, you will probably be well satisfied with three or four meals a day. You may feel a little deprived in the first couple of weeks, but it’s mostly a psychological question. Remember to always chew the food slowly and completely. That lets the digestion start in the mouth, where it should, and gives the stomach enough time to let the brain know that it’s full.

Always use a luncheon plate instead of a big dinner plate. The smaller plate helps you serve yourself the right amount of food, and feel more satisfied when you have eaten everything on the plate. Soon, you’ll develop the habit of smaller meals and stop craving more food. You’ll feel healthier and more relaxed, knowing that you are getting a balanced diet.

All meals should be eaten at a table to avoid mindless eating. And, don't bring work or a book to the table. That also means you won’t be doing any snacking in front of the TV or eating popcorn at the movies. A lot of the calories we consume occur from mindless eating, done out of boredom. Snacking really isn’t necessary at all, if you’re having as many as 4 meals a day.

If you find you’re still getting hungry in the first week of this diet, try eliminating coffee and strong tea, as these drinks stimulate more appetite. I’ve found that on this diet, I had to eliminate coffee and have started drinking rather weak, hot tea as a replacement.

Here is a sample menu of the three-food diet for one day. It happens to be what I ate yesterday. According to an Internet calorie counter, it adds up to 1,650 calories -- so, this isn't a starvation diet. (I should also mention that during the day, I also drank about six large glasses of water, a large glass of lemonade, and several cups of unsweetened tea.)

Breakfast
Fruit - small banana and a cup of papaya
Protein – sweetened yogurt (3/4 cup)
Grain – 1 generous slice of homemade wheat bread and margarine.

Lunch
Vegetable – big bowl of homemade vegetable soup
Grain – rice (1/2 cup), added to the soup.
Protein – 1 hardboiled egg

Supper
Protein – refried beans, 2 tablespoons
Grain – 2 corn tortillas with the refried beans inside, fried with a little oil and and topped with lettuce, cilantro and onions
Fruit – 1 small apple

Later meal
Protein – one cup of milk, heated, with some honey and cinnamon
Grain – 1/2 cup white rice, served with the milk
Fruit – 2 tablespoons raisins, added to the milk and rice.

As you can see, yesterday, I ate vegetarian meals -- which is usual for me. But occasionally, I eat some meat or fish. When I do, I never eat more than one serving in a day. In general, I try to avoid all red meat, and do not eat beef in any form.

O.K., having said all this, I must add a note. I come off this diet, despite my good intentions – when I’m on vacation and during the holidays. I also backslide one day or another during the month, when I go out to a restaurant or eat in somebody else’s home or have company over. Sometimes, I also “just forget” about the three-food rule for short periods. But, I always return to this diet and feel much better for it.

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